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5G and IoT will change our world! That’s what we’ve been promised. For years, we have been hearing how 5G will have us working at lightning speed and how IoT will have objects and devices around us operating autonomously. As we enter the 5G and IoT world, let’s explore what this means for mobility and what is on the horizon for businesses.

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Today, your customers operate their IT infrastructure and run applications across many cloud environments. They continue to invest in cloud for easy deployment, flexibility, cost management and performance. Nearly all organizations have embraced a multi-cloud strategy – 93% according to Flexera 2020 State of the Cloud Report. The pandemic sped up transformation initiatives, and technology partners should capitalize on migrations and improving experience. If you have not downloaded it yet, be sure to get The Cloud Journey Guide for insights on how to maximize demand.

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Colocation continues to be a dependable, solid solution to have in your portfolio. Need for these services are growing with the acceleration of digital transformation and with more and more businesses turning to hybrid IT and cloud-based services. Remote-work models are here to stay, and colocation allows IT staff to perform data center duties offsite. Additionally, businesses might turn to colocation to help with security both physical and for remote employees filtered traffic to a centralized, secure location with managed firewalls and proper access controls in place. Get TBI’s sell sheet on colocation to learn more benefits to your customers. 

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If there was ever a year that tested our strength as humans, it was 2020. The personal and professional struggles were indeed very real as our new normal was anything but. Our lives were uprooted, people dealing with immense hardships and mental stress. I found myself working more and having even less of a work life balance, not like I had much before. The lines of being a mom, boss, teammate, friend, coworker have all been blurred and I now have much greater appreciation for others trying to find balance in a world that seems uncertain and scary.

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Technologies advancing remote work

2021 will be a year for the enterprise (large and small) to build out or course correct what they implemented in haste due to COVID-19. We see how much technology helped and continues to help us navigate the pandemic, an example being Zoom as the default “Kleenex” type reference for all video conferencing now. There is a reason why the CCaaS business is booming – many deploying it for analytics and reporting relating to workforce optimization and remote work. And why companies like Twilio have surging stock pricing due to APIs syncing communication platforms with business applications – think remote restaurant ordering, pickup and end-to-end customer/business communications.

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Computing has been moving to the edge as companies recognize the benefits of processing closer to where data is generated. The number of connected devices is more than we have ever seen, propelled by remote workforces with mini computers aka smartphones on themselves at all times, demanding instant data transfers. Edge computing brings better performance capabilities, reduced network latency and bandwidth usage. In some instances, for example when involving autonomous vehicles or critical medical devices, latency can prove very dangerous, perhaps a difference in life or death, making edge computing necessary for localized data processing, allowing for faster response times and only relevant data sent back to the cloud for storage.

As edge computing becomes more necessary due to increased IoT consumption, so does the need for security. So, how do businesses address security when it comes to edge computing?

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Security operations center as a service (SOCaaS) and managed detection and response (MDR) are managed cybersecurity services that provide intrusion detection of ransomware/malware and malicious activity in the network and assist in rapid incident response to eliminate those threats with concise remediation actions. Typically, SOCaaS and MDR combine with technology solutions that have outsourced security analysts to extend security technologies and team.

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Let’s be very clear - hackers do not discriminate. They’re after any and every opportunity to snatch data, make money, disrupt business and cause chaos. In case you missed it at TBI’s BIG Event 2020, a white hat hacker showed us exactly how easy it is to hack into a device during Hold My Beer While I Hack This Smartphone – watch here. Businesses big and small can fall prey, and you and your customers need to be aware. So far this year, we’ve seen some big-name companies, with presumable top-notch security, become victims. The pandemic seems to be a catalyst for many of the biggest breaches that have taken place in 2020. Check out some of the most headline grabbing examples of the reality and severity of cyberattacks.

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A huge cybersecurity problem facing many businesses, even large corporations, is the lack of a strong cybersecurity workforce. A report shared by Security Magazine found that 76% of cybersecurity leaders believe their company is lacking cybersecurity skills, and there are over 314,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs in the US according to Cyber Seek. In an alarming prediction from Cybersecurity Ventures, unfilled cybersecurity jobs around the world are only expected to increase, reaching 3.5 million by 2021, up from 1.5 million in 2015.

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The FBI reports a 300-400% increase in cybersecurity incidents since the pandemic began and Google reveals 18 million COVID-related phishing emails are now being blocked, daily. Risks and threats have rapidly multiplied as hackers prey on disenfranchised organizations and unplanned remote work. Most businesses today have security baked into their IT plans, but those plans need to be re-evaluated and assessed on an ongoing basis.

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As many people practice social distancing and in some cases isolation, technology has proven our greatest ally, keeping us connected person to person and business to consumer. Before the pandemic, people were already engaging with companies across multiple channels, by voice, text, chat, video, and social media, growing accustomed to choosing how we want to engage and getting a quick response. Now, as people are dispersed and businesses shut down, albeit temporary, these multi-channel communications have become vital. Companies and organizations have been resourceful during these uncertain times, exploring new outlets, some even changing business models as they move quickly to communicate in real-time with customers, employees and associates.

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The response and urgency with which we all had to react to COVID-19 came on quickly. Suddenly, we found ourselves having to ramp up an offsite workforce, testing company productivity, IT teams and infrastructure. While some had remote employees or work from home policies, a completely remote workforce and IT infrastructure operating out of office was not a fully baked plan for most.

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Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, working remotely was already more popular than ever before. One Gallup survey in 2019 found that more than 40% of Americans worked from home occasionally, and in recent years, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) noted that roughly 16% of Americans (nearly 30 million people) now work remotely on a regular basis.

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A TBI Case Study

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In the past week, we have seen an incredible change in how the country is reacting to the pandemic. Just last week many organizations were attempting to create or solidify contingency plans “if” the need to transition to a remote workforce arose - this week, that became a reality for a large majority of organizations across the globe. From finance and marketing to technology and education, working from home has suddenly become the “new normal” for the foreseeable future, and securing your remote workforce has become a top concern.

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All companies, including those not yet directly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, have a limited amount of time to make sure that they are prepared if/when the virus hits their area, maybe even directly in their organization. Right now, companies are advised to do a function-by-function audit as well as a holistic overview to identify areas needing immediate attention— addressing network security gaps, revisiting work from home policies, or tackling potential operational shortfalls, such as lack of cloud communication tools. 

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The IaaS market is projected to post a CAGR of 31.45% between 2020-2024. (Market Reports World)

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Worldwide Spending on Digital Transformation Will Reach $2.3 Trillion in 2023 (IDC)

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This year, this decade, we’re focused on elevating the partner experience and leveraging innovations with automation, intelligence and mobility to help improve both the employee and customer experience. TBI’s 2020 word of the year is EXPERIENCE.

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I’m not telling anyone anything they don’t already know when I say we’ll be hearing a lot about SDN, IoT, Edge Compute and Mobility this year.

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